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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 13:44 GMT
Saudis arrest Kuwait 'attacker'
One of the soldiers in hospital
The soldiers are in 'stable but serious' condition
The Kuwaiti policeman accused of shooting and seriously injuring two American soldiers on Thursday has been arrested in Saudi Arabia, a Kuwaiti official announced.

The suspect, Khalid Messier al-Shimmari, fled Kuwait after the incident and was arrested on Friday morning. The specific location of his arrest was not given.

Mr Shimmari - who is thought to have mental health problems - is a patient at a Kuwait psychiatric hospital, the official told the Associated Press.

Kuwait's Ministry of Defence Chief of Staff General Ali al-Moumeen visits the soldiers in hospital
Kuwait is anxious that such incidents do not escalate
On Friday, Kuwaiti newspapers reported that he did not appear to have any links to extremist religious groups.

The two soldiers were shot as they were travelling between the Camp Doha military base on the northern outskirts of Kuwait City and the southern town of Arifjan on Thursday morning.

One sustained a facial injury and the other was shot in the shoulder.

Both were taken to a military hospital in Kuwait with serious wounds, but their lives are not thought to be in danger, the US military said.

Their condition was "stable but serious" on Friday.

The US has about 10,000 troops stationed in Kuwait undertaking annual war games near the Iraqi border.

One American soldier was killed and another wounded in October when two Kuwaitis opened fire on them, and there have been reports of shots being fired at troops on other occasions recently.

'Totally worried'

The attack - believed to be the fifth shooting involving US forces in the country since October - is being investigated by both Kuwaiti police and the US Criminal Investigation Command.

A spokesman at Camp Doha said nothing had yet been found that suggested the attack involved al-Qaeda "or some other terrorist organisation", the French news agency AFP reported.

But on Thursday a senior official at Kuwait's foreign ministry, Khalid al-Jarallah, said Kuwait was very worried about the attack.

"We really condemn the action and we hope that, again, this is an isolated action," Mr al-Jarallah told AFP.

The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Paul Wood, notes that Kuwait is perhaps America's most dependable ally in the Arab world.

It relies on the United States for protection and in turn is expected to be the launching pad for any ground war to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq.


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20 Nov 02 | Middle East
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